Jewish Free Loan Toronto (JFLT)
Q: What is a JFLT business loan?
A: A JFLT business loan is an interest-free loan for Jewish residents of Ontario (excluding Ottawa) in need who have limited financial resources and wish to start a business to provide income self-sufficiency and economic enhancement via the alleviation of poverty.
Q: How much money do you provide?
A: Our loans are generally $10,000. A person may apply for a smaller amount, as needed.
Q: How do I apply?
- Visit the JFLT offices and complete an application form. Or, download the application form from this webpage. JFLT staff will be pleased to answer any questions about the application form. You can also call (416-635-1217), visit the office (in the Lipa Green Centre for Jewish Community Services on Sherman Campus, 4600 Bathurst Street, just north of Sheppard Avenue), or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find three qualified guarantors and have them complete guarantor forms, which are included in the application package linked to above. Criteria for guarantors are listed below.
- Return all documents, including a business plan and cash flow statement, to the JFLT offices. Please use our templates available here. Once JFLT receives all completed documents, an interview will be arranged for you.
- Come in for a personal interview. Each applicant meets with two members of the loan committee so we can better understand your situation and make a good decision.
Q: When and where do the loan committee meetings take place?
A: The loan committee generally meets every two weeks, on Tuesday nights.
Q: How do the members of the loan committee make their decisions?
A: The decision to grant a loan is made by a loan committee composed of volunteers from our local Jewish community. These volunteers review and discuss the information from each loan application.
Q: I will be providing JFLT with a lot of personal and confidential information. Is it going to be protected?
A: Yes. We keep your information in strict confidence and it is only discussed among the members of the loan committee. No other person or organization has access to the information.
Q: If my loan is approved, how soon can I get the money?
A: Call us the day after your interview to find out if your loan application was approved. If it is approved, your guarantors must call us to confirm the information on their guarantor forms.
Once we have spoken to you and the guarantors, and we are satisfied that everyone understands their financial obligations, you can pick up your loan cheque. If your interview takes place on a Tuesday evening, it is possible that you can get your loan funds as early as Wednesday.
Q: I need a loan urgently. Do I need to wait until the next loan committee meeting?
A: Yes, although please speak to the office to see if there is some way we can help. In very rare situations we can approve a loan outside of the normal meetings.
Q: What is the repayment schedule for business opportunity loans?
A: Business loans have a one-time administrative fee, equal to 4% of the loan.
Q:How do I make my monthly loan payments?
A. JFLT will take your monthly loan payment directly from your bank account by Direct Electronic Funds Transfer (DEFT). When you pick up your loan cheque, you must provide us with a VOID cheque and sign a DEFT agreement form. Payments will be deducted from your bank account on either the 1st or 15th of each month until your loan is paid in full.
Q: Can I lower or increase my monthly payments?
A: Yes. In certain cases, if the borrower is facing difficult financial circumstances, JFLT may accept a lower monthly payment. This situation must be discussed with our office. Borrowers are free to increase the payments if they wish to pay back the loan faster.
Q: It’s going to be difficult for me to get guarantors. Do I need them?
A: Yes. In most cases, JFLT requires three guarantors for business loans who are jointly responsible to repay the loan if you do not make the required payments. The JFLT bylaws do not allow granting of loans with no guarantors. Please discuss your particular situation with our office.
Q: What are the criteria for a successful guarantor?
A: Criteria for guarantors include:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have the financial means and capability of repaying the loan in case of default. At least one guarantor must own property.
- Cannot be a current JFLT borrower, clergy or JFLT board member, executive member or his/her spouse
- Applicants and their guarantors cannot all be employed by the same person or company
- Guarantors must be permanent residents or citizens of Canada, and must have been residents of Ontario for at least one year
- Guarantors must be fully employed by the same company for at least one year
- A person cannot be a guarantor for more than one loan at a time, unless they are in a very strong financial position and the loan they are currently guaranteeing is being repaid on time
- The JFLT office may require a fourth guarantor in some cases
- A guarantor cannot live with the borrower, with the exception of parents (see below)
Q: Can my parents be guarantors?
A: Yes, as long as they are financially able to repay the loan.
Q: What happens if my application is rejected by the loan committee?
A: You can write a letter of appeal providing additional information in support of the loan application. The loan committee will review your appeal and will make a final decision to either approve or deny your loan application.
Q: What happens if I cannot keep up with the monthly payments?
A: Do not miss a loan payment. Call the office to discuss your special circumstances. If your payment is returned by your bank as Unpaid, the office will contact you. If the amount owed cannot be collected, we will contact your guarantors and recover the funds from them. If necessary, JFLT will proceed to Small Claims Court.
Q: I had another JFLT loan a number of years ago. Can I apply for a new one?
A: Yes. You will have to go through the application process again.
Q: Can I apply for a personal, business and student loan at the same time?
A: No. You have to decide which type of loan is most useful for you and apply for that one only.
Q: Is there a penalty if I pay off the loan earlier than the due date?
Q: Can two members of the same family apply independently for separate business opportunity loans?